Underground gas storage facilities ensuring security of supply
RAG has been using depleted gas reservoirs to store gas for over 30 years, playing a key role in security of supply. Today it is Europe’s fourth largest storage Operator, and has converted about half of the gas reservoirs discovered during its 80-year history into storage facilities with long useful lives - a figure unmatched anywhere in the world. By progressively expanding its storage capaciy, RAG has added a key additional link to its supply chain, and in doing so has developed a sustainable form of gas production.
RAG operates gas storage facilities with a combined capacity af around 6 billion cubic metres – equivalent to about 70 percent of Austria’s annual gas consumption. These storage facilities are used to supply customers in Austria and abroad, and include joint ventures with major multi-nationals such as Gazprom and UNIPER.
Efficient, sustainable and safe - storage in depleted reservoirs
Use of depleted gas reservoirs is the safest, most efficient and most enviromentally friendly way of stocking energy. Austria has geological structures that are unique in Europe and ideal for gas storage. New supplies can be stored in depleted reservoirs where gas accumulated naturally over millions of years, at depths of over 1,000 metres. This natural insulating layer makes them an extremely safe means of underground storage. The proof of this comes from nature itself, since the original gas reserves were held there for millions of years. Using a natural gas reservoir that has existed for millions of years as underground gas storage represents the most efficient, safest and most environmental friendly way of storing energy.
Top technical expertise and certified safety procedures
RAG has demonstrated that it is equal to the technical challenges posed by gas storage. Its state-of-the-art storage facilities are permanently monitored and maintained. Highly skilled staff run the facilities from the dispatching centre, working around the clock to maximise efficiency, and optimise environmental and technical performance. RAG is also an industry leader in terms of safety. The entire safety management system at RAG’s facilities is based on audited processes. In September 2009 RAG became the first European company to obtain Technisches Sicherheitsmanagement (TSM) certification from the German Vereinigung des Gas- und Wasserfaches e.V. (Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water). A surveillance audit carried out in 2014 did not give rise to any objections.
Systematic quality and environmental management and strict health and safety standards are central to the company’s philosophy.
Underground gas storage is environmental friendly
Husbanding natural resources and good environmental stewardship play a vital role in gas storage, and all the processes at storage facilities operated by RAG are designed for maximum eco-friendliness. Minimising energy use and emissions, preventing waste, and using cutting-edge technology to monitor the plant and pipelines are all vital. In 2013, we augmented our existing internal control system by implementing an energy management system based on the ÖNORM EN ISO 50001:2011 standard.
Renewables and gas storage - a dream team
Today’s growing use of renewable energy sources has given RAG’s gas storage facililities a vital new role. Together, environmentally friendly natural gas and renewables are a dream team. Natural gas from storage is a dependable source of energy to balance out the swings in wind and solar power output. For their share of the energy mix to keep on expanding, renewables need a partner to even out these fluctuations - and natural gas fits the bill perfectly. It is easy to store, and gas-fired power stations are not only environmentally friendly and efficient, they also offer outstanding operating flexibility. They are able to react immediately to falls in output from wind and solar installations.
RAG initiated a unique research project to store hydrogen, produced using renewable energy, at a small, depleted gas reservoir in Pilsbach Upper Austria. More information under www.underground-sun-storage.at.
Tailor-made solutions for storage customers
In response to legal requirements, on 1 January 2013 Rohöl-Aufsuchungs Aktiengesellschaft (RAG) formed a 100 % subsidiary, RAG Energy Storage GmbH, to market its storage capacity.
The aim of RAG Energy Storage is to meet the challenges of a new energy world by offering innovative bespoke services, designed to make a reality of “value added gas”, as well as RAG’s established storage products. These solutions will be tailored not just to fit conventional supplies but also to support short-term intraday- and complex trading-transactions.
Current information concerning storage services, storage capacities, storage tariffs, storage data and maintenance works is published on the homepage of RAG Energy Storage.